The Healthcare industry is the most challenging industry when it comes to data analytics and management. It is a complex system with varied stakeholders: patients, doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and healthcare decision-makers and is limited by strict regulations. The massive influx of complex data makes it almost intimidating for the healthcare industry to handle it without using the right data analytics and management tools. Decisions taken in healthcare often have life-altering outcomes—both for patients and the population. However, worldwide one may observe a departure from the traditional doctor-patient approach.
The doctor is a partner, and the patient is involved in the therapeutic process. Healthcare is not only about the treatment of patients, but it rather focuses on promoting a proper health attitude and prevent diseases for masses. This became visible and important especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ability to quickly gather and analyze data enables decision-makers to make choices regarding treatment and predict the path of large-scale health events. This fails to squeeze out meaningful insights from data, which can be used to improve the quality of healthcare offered to patients and increase the efficiency of the organization. “With these patients identified, organizations can perform outreach and interventions to maximize the quality of patient care and further enhance the AI model’s effectiveness,” according to an article by Health Catalyst.
Role of Data Analytics
“In health care, decisions often have life-altering outcomes—both for patients and the population as a whole,” said Catherine Cote in an article from Harvard Business School.
Data analytics is the process of interpreting data to reveal insights, answer questions, and identify trends. This can be done both manually or with the help of software and algorithms. In healthcare, data analytics can be used to identify trends and patterns that may be useful in improving patient care, identifying potential problems or inefficiencies in healthcare delivery, and making more informed decisions about resource allocation. Some specific ways in which data analytics is used in healthcare include:
1. Population health management: Data analytics can be used to identify patterns and trends in the health of a population, which can be useful in identifying potential health risks and developing interventions to prevent or mitigate those risks.
2. Clinical decision support: Data analytics can be used to help doctors and other healthcare providers make more informed decisions about patient care. For example, data analytics can be used to identify patterns in patient data that may suggest a particular diagnosis or treatment approach.
3. Quality improvement: Data analytics can be used to identify patterns in healthcare delivery that may be causing inefficiencies or contributing to poor outcomes. By identifying and addressing these issues, data analytics can help improve the overall quality of healthcare.
4. Resource allocation: Data analytics can be used to help healthcare organizations make more informed decisions about how to allocate resources, such as personnel, equipment, and facilities.
5. Fraud detection: Data analytics can be used to identify patterns of fraudulent activity in healthcare billing and claims, which can help organizations recover lost revenue and prevent future fraud.
Challenges and limitations
Though data analytics has the power to create a positive impact, it may create perpetuate issues. Patient data is sensitive, personally identifiable information (PII) and must be protected. It is the responsibility of all medical professionals to keep this information secure while improving the health and well-being of the patient. It is imperative to use the correct algorithms when analyzing data as they often display human bias.
With race, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic status, and geographic factors contributing to unequal healthcare access, algorithms meant to conclude the population may not receive data from certain minority groups and generate inaccurate, potentially damaging conclusions. Machine-learning algorithms learn based on the data they’re given, so ensure your data comes from a truly representative sample comprised of various demographics before concluding.
The impact of data analytics in healthcare has made a substantial difference in the ability to provide patients with high-quality care in an efficient, cost-effective manner. The role of data analytics in improving patient outcomes and healthcare processes continues to grow and expand substantially with new tools coming into the market making the results of the analytics clear and easy for healthcare professionals to access.
Data analytics can transform the healthcare industry by understanding how technology can be applied to address healthcare challenges and enhanced patient experiences. Overall, the use of data analytics in healthcare can help organizations make more informed decisions, improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery, and ultimately improve patient outcomes.